The Sunken Garden at Castle Ward, County Down, lies adjacent to the stable-yard.
During the Victorian era, this parterre was particularly elaborate.
My old Nuttall's dictionary neatly describes a parterre as a lay-out of flower-beds with intervening spaces to walk on.
Castle Ward's sunken garden had little or no grass at all, in fact.
Prior to its acquisition by the National Trust, it was known as The Windsor Garden.
An extract from Irish Farming World, ca 1902 states:
The Windsor Garden, so called from being arranged according to a design at Windsor, is very interesting. The design is most admirably worked out of 61 beds of flowers in the flat all stocked at present with tuberous begonias, dwarf varieties of geraniums, with blue lobelia and yellow pyrethrum for bordering.The small circular pond with its statue of Neptune brandishing his trident isn't in the watercolour.
On the next terrace there are several beds of roses of the choicest and latest varieties; ascending a few steps more we came across a collection of beautiful and nicely coloured begonias...ascending to the archway is a good line of Florence Court yews here so tall and stately and the admiration of visitors...to the Pinetum where there is a beautiful collection of trees and shrubs with which his lordship manifests a great interest...
|The Sunken Garden in 2013|
During the Castleward Opera season I occasionally picnicked there during the interval.
There used to be a parterre at the elevated garden immediately to the rear of Florence Court House.
Parterres are considered to be particularly labour-intensive or time-consuming today, which is probably why these ones have not been restored.
First published in May, 2009.